We have invited our money expert, Peter Miles of UniZest, to share his advice to international students studying in the UK.
We have all experienced that sinking feeling you get when you realise that you have managed to spend rather more money than you anticipated, leaving you extremely short of cash and worried about making it last. It is therefore worth thinking about how you can avoid putting yourself in that situation.
Being an international student in London is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming if you aren’t in control of your finances.
So to ensure you get the most of your time in London we suggest:
1. Do some research
An excellent first step is to do as much research as you can about London and the average cost of living. What you don’t want are any nasty surprises when you get here and it is always better to be prepared.
Our blog will help you live on a budget in London whilst still making the most of your time and enjoying the full range of what London has to offer.
2. Set up a budget
Something that is really useful is to set up a budget so that you always know where your money is going and what you have left to spend on enjoying yourself.
This is mentioned in a separate blog about setting up a monthly budget but it is worth noting that there are various websites and mobile apps that are specifically designed to help you with your budgeting.
A good example of this is the “Envelopes” software incorporated into the Aspire Account. The Aspire account is specifically designed for international students and you can set it up before you leave home, which means that you can start using the ‘envelopes’ budgeting tool straight away.
You assign a certain amount of money for your expenses each month such as rent, bills, food and transportation and place this in separate envelopes. Then you are able to see clearly what money you may, or may not, have left to spend on items such as ‘entertainment’.
3. Seek advice
Finally if you do find yourself starting to struggle with your finances then the most important thing to do is to seek guidance as soon as possible. There are many people who can help you, but they can only do that when you ask for it.
This is definitely one area in which it is better to ask for help as soon as you start to experience problems, rather than later when you might be in a worse position.
Your university will have a student welfare department that will provide information and support that you can access at any time.
The National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) publish a magazine with useful tips about managing your finances as a student, and they also have Advisers who are always ready to help.